We’ve been in Cottingham today, because having found buyers for Mummy’s bungalow, the task we’ve been putting off finally had to be tackled. Though we’d already sorted out the personal treasures and taken them home for safety, there was still the tricky business of emptying wardrobes, kitchen cupboards and suchlike. Fortunately, I’m blessed with a family who are ready and more than willing to step in at a moment’s notice, who rally round and make the job so very much easier. Thanks to their help, we were able to get on with it with minimum fuss and bother.
For some reason, I felt it important that I dealt with the personal bits and pieces myself. Never mind that she had no secrets, I didn’t like to think of a total stranger dealing with those things. So, deep breaths taken, all courage gathered and some six hours later it’s more or less done.
Of course, we discovered little things tucked away. Old letters, newspaper clippings and, totally out of the blue, a box containing my first ballet shoes, a Brownie card dated 1963 and a rather formal letter from my first employer informing me that I had “successfully completed the probationary period of my teaching career”. Just as I was asking myself why on earth she kept such things, I reflected on what bits and pieces I squirrel away from Edward’s life and reckon I’ve inherited that particular weakness. He hasn’t had ballet shoes to save (!) but I have still got his first little buckle sandals, never mind various letters offering university places, confirming degree results, job offers and so on. It’s what proud Mummies do, isn’t it?
The comforting part of the day was meeting the buyers, who came over to talk about what we might leave behind for them – light fittings, curtains etc. Having only spoken to them on the phone, we had no idea what they were like – not that it really mattered.
But imagine our delight to discover they are a couple of local teachers with two young daughters and, in seven weeks, will add a son to their number. New house, new baby – their excitement at the prospect of making a new home for themselves was really lovely to witness and served to confirm that life does indeed go on. Their younger daughter was so happy in the garden, collecting rose petals from the many rose bushes Daddy planted and took such pride in – he would have been thrilled to know that they will continue to be enjoyed.
Tomorrow, all that’s left to do are one or two last bits and we’ll leave it to this next generation and, though I dreaded letting go of this last link, I must say, it will come as a huge relief.